Engineering phytoecosystems for water quality and health

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Khang Huynh, PhD student


Name: Khang Huynh (Huỳnh Vĩnh Khang)

Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

o B.S (2002-2006): Nong Lam University Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Major: Biotechnology
o M.S (2009-2011): Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.
Major: Environmental Studies
o PhD (2013-2018): Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA.
Major: Biosystems Engineering

Hobbies: reading and all sorts of outdoor activities

Research focus: Having been trained in plant biotechnology and environmental sciences, I am interested in studying the interaction of plants and pollutants in soil-water environment. My current research focus on uptake, accumulation and phytometabolism of antimicrobial agents in pharmaceuticals and personal care products, such as triclosan and triclocarban, by vegetable species. Human exposure to these emerging contaminants through consuming contaminated food crops is also of my research interest.

Year in program: second year

Career goal: university professor

Published articles:
Huynh Vinh Khang, Masayoshi Hatayama, Chihiro Inoue, 2012.  Arsenic accumulation by aquatic macrophyte coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum L.) exposed to arsenite, and the effect of iron on the uptake of arsenite and arsenate. Environmental and Experimental Botany 83, pp. 47-52. (PDF)

Conference presentations:
Khang Huynh, Emily Banach, Dawn Reinhold, 2015. Accumulation and metabolism of triclocarban by hydroponically grown pepper (Capsicum annuum). American Ecological Engineering Society Conference, Oklahoma, USA.

Khang Huynh, Girish Kasat, Dawn Reinhold, 2014. Uptake and evidence of phytometabolism of triclocarban by the Jalapeno pepper (Capsicum annuum). American Ecological Engineering Society Conference, South Carolina, USA.

Huynh Vinh Khang, Masayoshi Hatayama, Chihiro Inoue, 2011. Investigating the ability of coontail Ceratophyllum demersum for removing arsenic from arsenic-contaminated water. The 45th Annual Conference of Japan Society on Water Environment, Hokkaido, Japan.



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Rebecca Bender – brief Bio

Zannichellia My name is Rebecca Bender and I am a second year graduate student from Escanaba, MI. My undergraduate degree was Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University, where lay the foundation for the Biosystems Engineering that I study here at Michigan State.

P3 AdventuresThere are plenty of interesting things here at the meeting place of biology and engineering, but my research focuses on how stormwater management systems like bioretention and wetlands can be effective at removing diffuse pollutants. I have also been able to watch over a group of undergraduates in our lab studying the effect of fungal mycelium on stormwater treatment. My interests could lead me toward urban infrastructure, improved agricultural development, or even environmental restoration efforts. In any case, I hope to take with me the pragmatism of an engineer and the cooperative, life-cycle appreciation of an ecologist.

Projects: “Nutrient Removal Effects of Prolonged Saturation in Stormwater Management Systems”;
People, Prosperity, Planet phase I and II EPA grant “Combined Water-Wastewater-Energy Systems for Rural Costa Rica”;
“Performance Effects of Mycelium in Stormwater Management Systems”

Presentations: Environmental Science and Policy Program (October 2013), Graduate Research Symposium (March 2014), American Ecological Engineering Society (June 2014)

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Presentations at AEES 2015!

Recently, our group participated in the American Ecological Engineering Society meeting in Stillwater, OK. Khang, Ronald, Rebecca and our super-team of undergraduates presented two posters and one oral presentation.

COMBINED LOW IMPACT INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A MORE PURA VIDA IN THE SHUABB. Rebecca Bender, Nicole Kruse, Gina Masell, *Ronald Aguilar, David Arias, Yasmín Granados, Ana Ruíz, Ricardo Salazar, and Dawn Reinhold (P.I.)

Dr. Reinhold stepped in and presented Ronald’s and Rebecca’s oral presentation, since Ronald was helping our NSF IRES students get started on their research projects in Costa Rica.  The presentation gave an update on our EPA P3 project, which was recently awarded phase II funding.

Accumulation and Metabolism of Triclocarban by Hydroponically Grown Pepper (Capsicum annuum).  Khang Huynh, Emily Banach, Dawn Reinhold.

Khang prepared and presented an excellent poster and the judges agreed.  Congratulations on your 3rd place award!

Measuring the effects of mycelium in stormwater management systems.  Rebecca Bender, Jacob Cochrane, Alexandra Fisher, Katerina Tsou.

Katerina created a great poster summarizing the preliminary results from this undergraduate research project.  There is a lot of interest in the results of the next phase of this research, which Katerina is completing this summer.

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“Engineering at the Tropics: Reclaiming Water Through Constructed Treatment Wetlands”

Last month, on April 9, the COE Graduate Research Symposium was celebrated in Breslin Ctr. After rigorous and challenging judging by the panel of 7 judges, the following three posters were judged to receive top recognition from within the BAE group. Ronald received 2nd place! His poster was titled “Engineering at the Tropics: Reclaiming Water Through Constructed Treatment Wetlands”.

Michigan State University Ph.D. student Ronald Aguilar presenting at the COE Research Poster Symposium, April 2015.

Michigan State University Ph.D. student Ronald Aguilar presenting at the COE Research Poster Symposium, April 2015.

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Ecological Engineering in the Tropics

One of my favorite aspects of my job is the variety of activities that I can lead.  The video below is about the study abroad course I co-instruct during winter breaks with Dr. Luke Reese.  I love teaching this course and it’s amazing how much the students learn in two weeks!

Personally, I think more photos of the technical aspects of our tours (e.g., the digesters, wetlands, food processing plants) would have improved the video – but I can see how that may not be as broadly interesting as sloths and humming birds.  Here’s some of the pictures that give a more technical view of the course.

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Announcing our summer 2015 NSF IRES participants

Our group is glad to welcome this year’s participants in our NSF IRES program.  These students will be joining Ronald Aguilar in Costa Rica for ten weeks this summer to complete a research project, with the help of collaborators from the Universidad de Costa Rica.